islanders from munda

Four Days in Munda

Solomon Islands

After four weeks of island hopping in the South Pacific, I met my friends, Julie and Dustin, in the Solomon Islands.  Because I had planned so much of my first four weeks in American Samoa, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu, I relied heavily on Julie and Dustin for planning in the Solomons.  As a result, I knew very little about the country which gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1978.

The sovereign state includes six major islands and over 900 smaller ones.  During our visit to the Solomon Islands, we began in its capital, Honiara, and traveled west through the Central Province to the Western Province with the Taka dive boat.  Ultimately, we ended our journey in Munda.

EXPLORE

SCUBA Diving in the Solomon Islands

In Guadalcanal

After island hopping around the South Pacific for a month, I finally joined my friends, Julie and Dustin, in the Solomons. We originally met while snorkeling with the humpbacks eight years ago, and every few years we end up in another part of the world together, usually on a dive boat live aboard. After a few days in Honiara, we boarded the Taka along with 12 other guests.

Our pick up took place at 6pm at the Coral Sea Resort, though was slightly delayed due to the rainy weather. Lupa had us sign waivers in the pavilion while Adam coordinated both the transport of our bags in the tender to our boat, as well as the transport of the passengers. When the rain decreased to a sprinkle, the crew zipped back and forth in the tender, taking about four of us at a time to our home for the next week.

GO DIVING
at Tenaru Falls in the Guadalcanal

Top Things to Do in Honiara

Getting to the Solomons

After four weeks of island hopping, I joined my friends in the Solomons after an unusual connecting flight through Fiji.  The gentleman in my row asked me to carry his alcohol through immigration.  I’m sure it was just due to a limit, but entering a foreign country, I politely replied, “No, thank you.”  Upon a second attempt, to which I said no again, he told me I wasn’t being very nice!

A few folks behind us overheard, and at the end of the flight, they wanted to know more.  In the end, I learned, one lady sails her boat around the world.  Envious, I said, I wish I met you while in Vanuatu, I always find myself wanting to be on islands that are only accessible to boats.  She told me for the future, I could just go to a website call Crew Seekers.  Hello!  That’s how I’ll be doing some of my future trips.

EXPLORE

Three Days in Efate

Continuing my island hop through the South Pacific, which has included Hawaii, American Samoa, Samoa, Tonga, and now Vanuatu, I flew from Espiritu Santo to Efate. Efate is the most populous island in the archipelago and is home to the capital of Vanuatu, Port Vila. The island, which was used as the locale for the Tales of the South Pacific as well as for three seasons of Survivor, many times is simply referred to as Vila.

LET’S GO

Four Day Itinerary for Espiritu Santo

Getting to Santo

Continuing my journey around the South Pacific, I visited another island in Vanuatu, Epiritu Santo (better known as Santo to islanders). I arrived in Santo after taking a connecting flight from Tanna through Port Vila. Once again, the flight left 30 minutes early after the headcount was taken and all expected passengers were on board.

I was now aware of Air Vanuatu’s strict guidelines for electronic devices and didn’t turn on my phone during take off or landing. Additionally, I made sure and every item was substantially under the forward seat for the drill sergeant flight attendants.

LET’S GO

Three Days in Tanna

About Vanuatu

After two weeks of no cell service and one week of no WiFi while in the Solomon Islands, I’m back online to post about my previous adventures in Vanuatu. What a wonderful place! The archipelago, which gained independence from France in 1980, comprises 82 islands, of which 65 are inhabited.

Vanuatu is a very poor South Pacific Nation whose mainstays are agriculture, tourism, offshore financial services, and cattle raising. Citizenship may be purchased for $150,000, and many Chinese have been moving onto the islands.

The National language is Bislama, similar to Pidgin English, and the official languages are French, English and Bislama. It’s amazing these islanders that have so little are at least tri-lingual and maybe more as many have a tribal dialect too. I’d just like to be bilingual which I’m working on with my next trip to Panama in a Spanish submersion school.

LET’S GO

Three Days in Tonga

My island hop adventure has taken me from Hawaii, to American Samoa, to Samoa, and now Tonga. I knew nothing of Tonga prior to making my reservations. After browsing my Pacific Island travel guide, I learned the people are devout Christians and island doesn’t cater much to tourists. Not knowing what to expect, I was a little nervous about visiting, especially via Talofa Airways.

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Upolu’s Southeastern Coast

Where to Stay on Upolu’s Southeastern Coast

Saletoga Sands is a lovely resort on the Southeastern coast of Upolu between Utulaelae and Matatufu. If I had my time to do over in Samoa, I might have stayed all four days here. The resort offers an airport transfer for a fee and has a variety of tours. For anyone who wants more freedom, they also rent both cars and scooters. Having seen the potholed roads, I’d stick to a car.

I spent two days in Apia, the capital of Samoa, and rented a car from Talofa Inn in order to get to the southeastern coast. The rainy weather wasn’t too conducive to beach going so I made a handful of stops along the Cross Island Road which cuts across the middle of the island.

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Around Apia

About Samoa

Samoa, once part of a larger island chain, was given to the Germans during the Tripartite Convention of 1899. At this time it became known as Western Samoa, though “Western” was dropped in 1997.

The archipelago is made up of ten islands though half are uninhabited. Savai’i is the largest island while Upolu is the most populated. The aforementioned are the most visited and four of the uninhabited islands are situated off the east coast of Upolu and comprise the Aleipata Islands which may be visited by boat.

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Three Day Itinerary for American Samoa

History of American Samoa

Before I visited American Samoa the only thing I knew about the Polynesian island chain, was that it is owned by the USA. I learned Polynesians first arrived on the islands some 2,500 years ago.

The USA didn’t get involved with Samoa until 1872 when it signed a friendship treaty with the Samoan government in order to establish a coaling station for the US Navy fleet as the islands are located midway between Hawaii and New Zealand.

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